Grant/Jacoby Bows Car-X Work

Grant/Jacoby tries to show that Car-X can give the same service as expensive dealerships in the agency’s new campaign for the chain.

Like several of the Chicago company’s competitors, Car-X wants to demonstrate that it capably handles more than simple things like muffler replacements, said Bernie Pitzel, executive creative director at the Chicago shop.

Television spots that roll out in regional markets this week depict a Car-X employee with a dealership mechanic. As the mechanic accomplishes tasks such as training a dog or playing a xylophone, the Car-X mechanic matches his every move.

“When everybody’s saying the same thing, you have to say it a little differently,” Pitzel said. “We tried to do it and maintain the brand equities.”

Those equities include a pair of animated birds and the long-running “Don’t worry, call the Car-X man” jingle, both of which conclude the spots.

Casting for the spots was challenging, Pitzel said. “We had to find real xylophone players that looked like they could be mechanics.”

Grant/Jacoby won Car-X’s estimated $3 million account in November 1999. The agency’s work since then mainly “maintained” the brand’s image, Pitzel said. But Car-X, like Midas and Meineke, has felt a need recently to show that its services are broader than the general perception, he said.

Car-X spent slightly more than $1 million on ads in 1999, according to Competitive Media Reporting.